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Glam App promises to be the Uber of hair and makeup

In the golden age of on-demand services, we can get chauffeured rides, a personal assistant, and high-end cuisine just by hitting a button on our smartphones.

On-demand beauty was inevitable, and now Boston has it, thanks in part to actress Cara Santana.

It was January 2014 and Santana was on the Shreveport, La., set of the WGN television show “Salem,” when she thought about how often she gets “glammed.” Every time she participated in a magazine photo shoot her hair and makeup were done by professionals. Every time she went to a high-profile event, she was orbited by stylists who made her look perfect.


Santana thought: What if everyone had access to those services? What if you could get your hair and makeup done as easily as you could call an Uber?

“I thought, surely there is a way to create a bridge between freelance beauty professionals and everyday women who would use this app, and also would love to work for an app that would bring them the exposure to build their brand,” she said.

Her answer was the Glam App, an on-demand beauty service that launched in Boston in October. Users who download the free app can have a stylist at their home or office for immediate beauty services (hair, makeup, and nails), or they can make an appointment for a later date. Santana’s partner and business cofounder is celebrity hair and makeup artist Joey Maalouf, who’s been on “The Rachel Zoe Project.”

The Glam App is not the only one of its kind; GlamSquad, Stylisted, and Vensette are just some of the apps that offer on-demand, in-home services, but most aren’t yet available in Boston.

Santana wins with her expansion plans. While the other apps have focused on clients in such hot spots as Los Angeles and New York, Santana’s Glam App is already in 16 cities, and she said she has a “two-city-a-month activation schedule till April.”


She also said the Glam App is different from the others in that it gives opportunities to brand-new stylists. When you book an appointment, you choose from several tiers of experience. A “Bombshell” blow-dry from a stylist with more than five years experience is $80. The same thing from a stylist just out of beauty school will cost you $40. There are more than 30 freelancers in Boston who have signed up to participate, Santana said.

They include Nicole Parish, who works for Amy’s Salon in Arlington, freelance hair and nail artist Tay Kennedy, and Sierra Buckmire, 24, a recent graduate of Empire Beauty School. Buckmire said the Glam App recruited her after finding her online. She said the app has helped introduce her to a client base.

That’s what Santana said she’s going for. She acknowledged that there have been concerns in the industry about whether on-demand beauty apps will limit stylists’ ability to make a living, but she believes this app should boost the business. In the end, if clients like a stylist, they can book with them again. They’re encouraged to find them again through the app, but the Glam App can’t control what happens after the first appointment.

“We are trying to elevate it, not hurt it,” Santana said of the beauty business. “We want to help these artists grow their business, expand their clientele, and give them an opportunity they otherwise wouldn’t have. Today’s society is all about convenience, and that’s what we are trying to create and sustain.”


Santana, who grew up in El Paso before moving to Los Angeles, said she plans to visit Boston soon to get a sense of how the app is doing here, and to meet with some of the locals who are involved in the service. Even though she guest stars on a show inspired by the Salem witch trials, she’s never been to Salem, and hasn’t spent time in Boston since high school, when she came to Cambridge for a debate tournament at Harvard.

“It was one of the most exciting times of my adolescent life.”

Meredith Goldstein can be reached at Meredith.Goldstein@globe.com.